Distracted@Work

Most drivers have woken up to the extreme dangers of distracted driving, particularly from mobile devices. The other day on the radio I heard about an ‘All-American’ teenager, Reggie Shaw, who killed two rocket scientists and a truck driver by veering onto the wrong side of the road while texting. He was sent to prison and is now an active campaigner against ‘distracted driving’.

And what about ‘distracted working’? Most of us have a smartphone at hand to check in with friends, check our calendars, check the latest news, check the weather, check out my latest blog… (OK, well, maybe not that last one quite so regularly.) But still, all this checking and texting is often done while at work. While checking and texting when sitting at a desk may only impinge on productivity, it can be as hazardous as checking and texting while driving in other work situations–filling your vehicle with petrol, working with dangerous chemicals or operating heavy or motorised equipment or power tools, for instance, or monitoring people’s safety during sport or recreation, such as while on lifeguard duty.

A recent OHS blog reviews how to develop policies regarding such technological distractions. At the very least, as a leader-manager, you should ensure your team knows when it is ok to check and text and when it isn’t. Is it OK, for instance, to check or text while walking down the corridor? While walking through the production area or through the warehouse? During a meeting? While on the phone with a client or supplier? Does your workplace need a ‘phone zone’ inside which it’s safe to check and text and outside which it isn’t?

Food for thought, eh?

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